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Regulators check for seat, wiper defects in some GM vehicles

December 3, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal safety agency is investigating the complaints of some General Motors pickup drivers that seats collapsed backward into a reclined position while they were driving.

Forty-six motorists have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the seat could tip backward when the driver tried to accelerate, according to a monthly report by the agency.

The vehicles are Chevrolet C-K pickups with extended cabs and Suburban sport utilities _ all with power bucket seats _ from model years 1994 through 1995. The agency has not determined how many of those vehicles are on the road.

Motorists claim one crash and two injuries were caused by sliding seats. The seats partly detach from the seat track, tipping back if both the two front bolts or their brackets fail, the report said.

The traffic safety agency also is investigating 440 complaints of windshield wiper failures on some GM pickups and sport utility vehicles.

Motorists say the wipers stop while they are driving. More than 3,000 customers have brought in their vehicles for warranty repairs on the wiper system, the report said. Three crashes and one injury were reported.

The GM vehicles are the 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, GMC Jimmy and Oldsmobile Bravada sport utilities and the Chevrolet S-10 and GMC Sonoma pickups. There are nearly 600,000 of the 1995 pickups and sport utilities on the road.

GM spokeswoman Mia Kelly said Tuesday that the company was cooperating with the investigations.

The NHTSA has upgraded both investigations to an engineering analysis, during which engineers determine if the parts are defective.

The agency also has opened preliminary investigations into several reports of inadvertent air bag deployments in some Chrysler minivans and Volvo cars.

Four motorists have complained that air bags deployed when they started Chrysler minivans. Two injuries were reported.

The vehicles are 1994 Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. There are about 500,000 of the popular minivans on the road.

In the deployments on Volvo 940 and 960 cars, five motorists complained the air bags inflated inadvertently. One driver alleges the deployment caused him to lose control of the car and crash.

The agency is investigating other complaints of air bags deploying without being triggered by a crash. Those investigations cover several GM, Subaru and Mazda model cars.

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